A friend came to help us with the Birmingham fiasco yesterday. I will not use his "real" name. Let's call him Friend X. No, that's too long. Let's call him Jim. Yeah, sure. Jim's a good solid name. Even if his "real" name is not "Jim." We sat and talked a bit, chatting amidst this maze of boxes, before heading for Alabama. I heard the story of how he discovered that his eccentric next-door neighbor is, in fact, Steve Walsh, vocalist and keyboard player for the progrock legend Kansas (that must be typed with the proper amount of reverb). How weird is that? "Carry On My Wayward Soul," indeed. We call these signs, if we are superstitious. We call them meaningful coincidences, if we are merely Jungian. If we are strictly empirical, we call them, simply, coincidences. I'm never sure, anymore, what I should call anything.
The drive to Birmingham was relatively uneventful. Hot, but uneventful. The Harris Building was an oven, but I can drive a freight elevator with the best of them. Oh, wait. I'm getting ahead of myself. We had to pick the truck up from the Penske rental place just north of Sloss Furnace, and Spooky saw right off that the brand new yellow truck they brought out for us had a bald tire (left rear). So, we had to wait...and wait...and wait...while another truck was driven up from Oxmoor Road. And it was hot. I think we got to the Harris Building about 3 pm (Central), and it closes at 5, which left us with only two hours to load the truck with the contents of my 5'X12' storage unit. The gigantic steel Lane cabinet was the worst of it. And frell me with a dead wombat if there weren't boxes hidden away in there that have been packed since I left Boulder (Colorado) back in the '80s. We finished up about 4:30 or 4:45, with time to spare. I said my goodbyes to my mother and stepfather, and then we headed back to Atlanta. Headed "home" no longer seems right. Home is waiting for us in Providence. Anyway, "Jim" drove the 12' Penske truck, Spooky drove to car.
A few miles west of the Anniston/Gadsden exit we were caught in a veritable deluge, complete with thunder and lightning. Lots of people pulled over to wait it out, but we bravely forged ahead. Water. From the sky. Searing bolts of electricity stabbing earthward. And they say Charles Fort was a loony bird! As Spooky drove, I began reading Neptune's Ark: From Ichthyosaurs to Orcas (2007) by David Rain Wallace (with illustrations by Ken Kirkland). See above: superstition, meaningful coincidences, and coincidences. It was, as I said last night, about 9 pm by the time we made it back to Atlanta. Kaloo kallay.
After a quick dinner, we sent off Sirenia Digest #30 (thank you, Thing). Speaking of which, I somehow screwed up and omitted Vince's illustration for "Rappaccini's Dragon." So. Later today expect a supplement to #30, consisting of that illustration. Sorry guys. It's mad around here. Anyway, after packing lots of clothes, I hand washed a few things, and we went to bed EARLY (about 1 ayem). Spooky read me Robert McCloskey's Time of Wonder, which usually helps me get to sleep. It didn't last night. She dozed off, and I watched the end of The Return of the King and part of the middle of Jackson's remake on King Kong (two of my "sleep movies"), and I finally got to sleep about 2:30, I think.
We've decided — given all the packing that's left to be done today — that we will likely not leave Atlanta until Friday morning (instead of late Thursday), which still puts us getting into Rhode Island on Saturday evening, as planned. We drive the Penske, Byron drives the car. Hubero will ride with us, as his cat carrier (he calls it the Iron Maiden, or the Cage of Despair, or the Black Pit of Angband, depending on his mood) fits snuggly between the truck's seats. We even got a truck with a CD player. Regardless, whether we leave tomorrow evening or Friday morning, this has to be counted as our last semi-"normal" day in Atlanta. The beginning of the last 48 hours or so. The last 2,880 minutes. We'll sleep on an air mattress tomorrow night (and, possibly, for several nights in Providence, until the movers find us).
And I think that's it for now. I must start packing the last things left to packed. It's going to be a Very Long Day, but Byron's coming over this evening, which is something to which I can look forward.